Karnataka High Court Rejects Ban on ’23 Ferocious Dogs’ Deemed by the Central Government

In a recent landmark decision, the Karnataka High Court invalidated a circular issued by the Central government aimed at banning 23 breeds of dogs labeled as ‘ferocious.’ Justice M Nagaprasanna, presiding as a single judge, delivered the verdict, emphasizing the necessity for proper consultation and adherence to legal procedures.

The circular issued by the Central government had sparked controversy by targeting specific breeds of dogs deemed hazardous to human life. However, the court found procedural flaws, noting the absence of stakeholder consultation and the committee responsible for the decision not complying with relevant laws.

Justice Nagaprasanna underscored the lack of transparency and legality in the decision-making process. He asserted that the ban imposed by the circular exceeded existing regulations’ scope and couldn’t be justified without proper recommendations from a duly constituted committee. Consequently, the court’s ruling nullified the circular, deeming it contrary to the law.

Crucially, the court clarified that its decision didn’t preclude the Central government from revisiting the issue through proper channels. It encouraged the government to engage in meaningful consultations with stakeholders, including organizations certifying dog breeds and animal rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The court emphasized the importance of responsible pet ownership in any future action on this matter. It called for pet owners to be held accountable for their animals’ well-being and any harm caused to others. This emphasis on accountability reflects a broader societal concern for both human and animal safety and welfare.

The ruling stemmed from a petition filed by a professional dog handler and a Rottweiler owner, challenging the lack of consultation and transparency in the decision-making process. Their advocate, Swaroop Anand P, argued before the High Court, highlighting the arbitrary nature of the circular and its discriminatory impact on certain dog breeds.

The Central government’s circular directed all states and union territories to ban 23 specific dog breeds, labeling them as ‘ferocious’ and dangerous to human life. This directive followed assurances made to the Delhi High Court regarding concerns over licensing potentially dangerous dog breeds.

However, the petitioners contended that singling out specific breeds was unjust and failed to address the root causes of dog attacks. They argued that responsible ownership and proper training were more effective measures for preventing aggression incidents.

The court’s decision reflects a balanced approach to addressing public safety concerns while safeguarding pet owners’ rights and animal welfare. By rejecting the blanket ban on certain dog breeds, the court has opened the door for a more nuanced and inclusive dialogue on responsible pet ownership and community safety.

In conclusion, the Karnataka High Court’s ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of due process and consultation in policymaking. It underscores the need for evidence-based approaches to addressing complex issues such as pet ownership and public safety. Moving forward, it is essential for all stakeholders to collaborate in promoting responsible pet ownership and ensuring the well-being of both humans and animals alike.